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General Guidelines for Graduate Assistantships

Assistantships will be awarded on the basis of academic performance and competency.  An evaluation by the Graduate Program Director and the Geography Chairperson is required prior to the decision on continued financial assistance.

Aid in the form of an assistantship is available for up to two years for Master’s students and four years for PhD students, at the discretion of the department.  A renewal decision is made each year, and all assistantships are dependent upon available funds.

Teaching assistantships funded through the department shall be awarded by the Chairperson.  Recommendations for these awards are made by the Graduate Program Director.

Research assistantships funded through the department shall be awarded by the Chairperson.  Recommendations for these awards are made by the faculty member(s) responsible for the research.

GEU Graduate Employee Union

The Graduate Employees Union is a labor union representing more than 1,300 Teach Assistants working in over 70 departments at Michigan State University.  Anyone employed at MSU as a Teaching Assistant is a member of the GEU Collective Bargaining Unit.  Any graduate student who has no funding or funding through a GA or RA position is eligible to join the GEU at a reduced rate.

Travel funding

Funds from The Graduate School are available for graduate students to travel to present their research at professional conferences.    Requests for funding to travel to international meetings will be considered jointly by The Graduate School and the Office of International Studies and Programs (ISP).  Requests are limited to $400.  Usually only one request per student will be considered during his/her degree program.

When you apply for travel funds from the Grad School, your application will also be reviewed by the Geography department and the Social Science Dean’s office for additional cost sharing.

To Apply:

Complete the “Travel Funding Request to the Graduate School” form, have your advisor sign (two places) and then submit to the Graduate Secretary for routing through the Geography Department, Social Science Dean’s Office and the Graduate School.

Research Enhancement funding

Funds are available to support activities that enhance graduate student’s research projects.  These funds are provided by the Office of the Vice President for Research and administered by the Graduate School and are available to support research activities including travel to participate in workshops, data collect, purchase supplies/materials relevant to the student’s research will be considered.  Only one request per student/tenure in degree program will be considered.

To Apply:

Complete the “Research Enhancement Award Request to the Graduate School” form, have your advisor sign (two places) and then submit to the Graduate Secretary for routing through the Geography Department, Social Science Dean’s Office and the Graduate School.

Dissertation Completion Fellowship

This fellowship is meant to allow students to devote full time to writing the dissertation with the goal that the dissertation will be completed during the semester of the fellowship.  Students who are unlikely to finish in the semester the Fellowship is sought are at a disadvantage for receiving the award. Other MSU financial support, held simultaneously with the fellowship, cannot exceed a one-quarter time assistantship or the equivalent.

To Apply:

Contact the Graduate Secretary for information about applying.  You will need to submit:

1)    An abstract and outline of the dissertation with a one paragraph summary of each chapter AND the specific status of each chapter (e.g., being revised based on major professor’s comments; drafted but not submitted to major professor; not yet drafted). No more than 6 pages

2)    A work plan with schedule for completion of the dissertation.

3)    A letter of support and a statement of progress by the major professor.  The letter should provide details about the student’s current level of funding within and outside of the University.

4)    Note:  the exact deadline changes each year, for Fall semester it is typically in July; for Spring semester it is typically in October; and for Summer semester it is typically in February.

EOF Education Opportunity Fellowship

To be eligible for an Education Opportunity Fellowship you must be a U.S. citizen or permanent resident of the United States.  You must demonstrate a need for financial assistance and have a minimum undergraduate federal indebtedness of $25,000, both as determined by the MSU Office of Financial Aid.  Exact awards will depend on need.

Emergency Fellowship funding

The Graduate School has limited funding available for graduate students for unusual or unforeseen emergency expenses.  Please be aware that emergency funds are provided on a one-time only basis.  Awards are contingent upon eligibility, endorsements, availability of funds, and in most cases, cost-sharing by the student’s college and department.  Complete the Emergency Fellowship Application.

Additional funding

Additional funding opportunities

For more information, please contact:

Ms. Sharon Ruggles
Graduate Secretary
Geography Building
673 Auditorium Road, Room 116
East Lansing, MI 48824

Phone: 517-355-4650
Fax: 517-432-1671